Miranda's in Udaipur!

Miranda at Shaktipur. Photo taken by Monica Figueredo, February 2017.

Miranda at Shaktipur. Photo taken by Monica Figueredo, February 2017.

From 10-28th April, Miranda ten Broeke, co-founder and program director of Shakti Caravan—will be offering dance and movement workshops in Udaipur.

Miranda is a professionally trained dancer and teaching artist from New York. She has trained since age 4 with the internationally acclaimed world and folk dance company, The Vanaver Caravan. In 2012, she directed the initial Shakti Caravan pilot program, where she began training Shakti Caravan member and esteemed Udaipur-based choreographer, Bharat Verma, in body percussion (introducing him to the art form that is now his unique expertise). Since then, Miranda has been an active force in making sure Shakti Caravan programming reaches as many communities as possible in Udaipur and beyond. She considers the city of lakes her second home.

What to expect in a workshop with Miranda:

In just a few hours, students will experience a variety of lively dances from all over the globe! Dances range from South African Gumboot, West African Dance, Hawaiian Ancient Hula, Israeli Folk Dance, Middle Eastern line dance, Brazilian Samba, Body Percussion, Swing Dance, American Clogging, and Modern Dance. Additionally, students will learn a series of unique exercises and games to get everyone feeling comfortable, confident, connected, energized, and inspired.  

Whether you are a talented dancer/performer with aspirations to build a big career out of dance, or you are simply looking to try something new and deepen your relationship with your own body, Miranda’s dance and movement workshops will give you an unforgettable—perhaps even life-changing—experience.

  • She teaches workshops for ages 4-adult. Generally in batches 4-6*, 7-9*, 9-12, 13-17 and 18+

  • Workshops can run from 1-3 hours

  • She caters her classes to fit the needs of the space and the abilities of students

  • *Children’s classes follow the format of creative movement, and include storytelling and folktales, singing, and games.

Miranda’s teaching philosophy:

I have dedicated most of my life to the idea that recognizing each other’s humanity is the first thing we, as humans, should do. I have trained my body to understand the way that other people move in this world. I’ve taught dances from almost every country to over 4,000 students in hopes of inspiring them to see that, no matter where we are from, what we do, how much money we make, what religion we do or don’t practice, what color our skin is, who we love, what gender we are, and what language(s) we speak … these things may define us, but they do not separate us. 

I remind my students that their bodies are sacred and deserving of respect–that “the body is not simply a vehicle for the mind.” That the arts have the power to bring people together and effect social change. I help people treat their bodies as their home. I remind them that babies learn to dance before they learn to walk–everywhere—and I help people to come back to a sense of comfort, playfulness, and joy in themselves. I believe the best way to make someone feel these things is to nourish our bodies with movement and dance.

If you are interested in setting up a class or workshop for your friends, colleagues, school, organization, or community, please get in touch. Miranda can be contacted at shakticaravan@gmail.com. Do so quickly, as her time is filling up!

See our Calendar for current Open/Closed Workshops.

Auroville 2019

Livia and Bill arrived in India last week and will be teaching at the Aikiyam School for the 3rd year in a row. Here’s an update on their work!

“Feels so natural to be back in India. Many families of 4 on a bike. No helmets...yikes!” - Livia

“Feels so natural to be back in India. Many families of 4 on a bike. No helmets...yikes!” - Livia

Words from Livia:

We starting teaching at Aikiyam School today and the warm welcome was so touching.  We began the day singing Hammer Song with the entire school at their daily morning meeting.  Taught them the first verse carefully having the unfamiliar words translated into Tamil.   Told them about Pete and what we would be doing with the first through fourth grades to prepare for a celebration/sharing in February.  They are singing so heartfully.   

Three out of the four classes have worked with us over the past years.  The scaffolding effect of building on movement that is already deeply in their bodies, is recognizable.  Muscle memory! And also memory of joyfully dancing together in the banyan tree.  We're building on our creative movement class curriculum and it really works.   These Tamil children are so eager and attentive.  They know how to quickly gather their attention and are learning how to BE with one another in a mindful way.  I could even see the difference from beginning to end of class today.

I'm working on Pete’s song “Of Time and Rivers Flowing” with the fourth standard at Aikiyam.  Usha is adding some Tamil mudras and movements to the first verse.  I just choreographed the last verse today and got very emotional as I explained how we need to take care of the earth.  We opened the class today entering with that song “The Earth is our mother, we must take care of her”  and the whole class was about Pete, the Hudson River, the Clearwater, and thinking seven generations ahead.  All was translated and discussed.  Everyone was very moved.  The pollution and garbage level here is significant in India so the children know what they need to do and as the song says "Now let us all begin!"

Plans unveiled for the Shakti Academy

What is the Shakti Academy?

Shakti Academy is the hub of Shakti Caravan. Shakti Academy is a cultural center, performing arts and festival venue, and eco-hub in the city of Udaipur. It will be powered by solar technology and built from locally sourced, recycled materials by Udaipur-based architects, designers, ecologists, and artists. It is a model for sustainable and healthy living right in the center of a thriving, ever-changing metropolis.

As you walk through the gates, you will see an outdoor stage to your right. To your left, a large indoor theater and performing arts space, built from bamboo. Small eco-hut guest houses will dot the outer perimeter. A vegetable garden takes up the center of the land. We’ll use the veggies to make and serve healthy food from a small cafe by the water. Weekly film screenings will take place on our outdoor projector, and evening music sessions will spring up around a big fire pit. There is a natural swimming pool and a rotating series of diverse art installments, workshops, lecture series, and performances throughout the year. Also, you can get to the Academy by sail boat.

What does Shakti mean?

The name Shakti Academy comes from the word “Shakti”. In Hindu mythology, Shakti is the primordial goddess and the feminine counterpart to Shiva. She is believed to be the life force that exists within all things. More specifically; the lightning-strike energy that moves through us when we dance, sing, make art, or follow our creativity and curiosity. We’d like to think that Shakti is the light that goes on in people’s eyes when they experience a moment of inspiration.  

Every workshop, performance, art installment, lecture, and leaf planted on the Shakti Academy land aims to create and instill that feeling of inspiration in the people who come to the Academy.

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What’s the difference between Shakti Academy and Shakti Caravan?

If the Shakti Academy is the venue, the Shakti Caravan is the community. The Shakti Caravan revolves, globally, around the Academy itself. Shakti Caravan takes the mission of the Academy out into the world and connects artists, lecturers, educators and future students to this 2 acre plot of lakeside land in the center of Udaipur City.


The Second Shakti Caravan Tour Begins Today!


Livia and Bill arrived home only last week, and already Samantha & Brian Lawton, and Joel Hanna are heading off to India to complete our second Shakti Caravan Tour of 2018. 

They will be teaching at the Happy Hours School in Jodphur, Rajasthan, and then dividing up: Sam & Brian to Mumbai, to get involved in the burgeoning Lindy Hop community there. And Joel, to our home city, Udaipur, to run the third consecutive Fighting for Change program (which teaches free self-defense and martial arts courses for women & girls of any age). 

Stay updates and don't forget to follow us on social media!

We wish you three love, joy, and strength on your journey! 

Homeward Bound

Words from Livia

Gathering of Shakti Caravan in Udaipur

Last night Nirmal at Mewar Foodies prepared a sumptuous meal for over 25 members of Shaki Caravan.  This was our way of thanking those that could join us for our final evening of this journey. 

That gathering included  our partners: David and Rita/ founders and directors of Big Medicine Charitable Trust and Shakti Academy, Vijay Lakshmi and her family, Sayari, Sheru and their family and ALL  their amazing  musicians who just finished performing at the Leela Palace Hotel, Manish Jain and family and friends from Delhi, and Laxshmi and friends (with whom we just spent the afternoon at Suk Devi, the Rooster Temple  at an invigorating festival mobbed with people dancing and crawling under the entrance way to the statue.  Bill and I were welcomed so warmly and danced for a long time with the participants...very different experience than our previous visit to this quiet, remote temple).

It was a very long table outdoors 3/4 of the way surrounded by the lakes and this beautiful cityscape and a half moon and stars in the sky. After dinner we put our chairs in a circle, thanked each other for being together and continuing to work towards creating an arts and healing center on Shaktipur and also the traveling version of our ShaktiCaravan work in villages and schools.

Starting our long journey home.....

For those of you who have been following us, thank you for being with us on this amazing journey.  Truly filled with gratitude and the feeling of hospitality and inner potential that India has to offer.  Bringing that energy back with us now.


Celebrating International Women's Day, internationally.

Women of Kuyliapalium, outside of Auroville, Pondicherry, India.

Women of Kuyliapalium, outside of Auroville, Pondicherry, India.

Words from Livia:

"Last Friday, we were walking through town, back to where we stay in New Creation when Nava, the second grade teacher, came running out of one of the houses.  "Come in and meet my friend, Malika. We have an idea. You do such beautiful work with our children. Now we would like you to create a dance for the women of the village to perform on March 11th when we will have the Women's Day celebration on the Sports Field."

I agreed to come on Monday and Thursday eves to practice and see what was possible.  I really didn't know what to expect or who would show up. On Monday, Bill and I arrived at 5:30 and only Nava and Mala were there. By 6:00pm there were 60 women from the village who showed up outdoors in front of the Dental Center to rehearse for International Women's Day, and they kept pouring in.  Someone brought in large tarps to cover the dirt ground on which to dance and we all sat down to meet and share ideas.

I asked them...."What does it mean to be a woman? What are the qualities of being a woman that we  can celebrate in our dance?"

"Women are strong and powerful, " they said. "Women can do anything they set their minds to do.  They can be educated. They are loving and kind.  They are good mothers and workers and do important work. Women are divine."

Nava translated everything  back and forth in Tamil and English. I had an idea that we create an opening dance with handfuls of flower petals, like an invocation.  The light of day was diminishing as we now crammed into two single lines on either side of the space. I used familiar steps that were simple and a Tamil song that many of them knew to honor Ganesh, the god who is the remover of all obstacles. They sang as they danced, forming two huge circles and then strewing their flowers two by two until they reformed into a huge semi circle.  The faster music began. 

I have the hardest time keeping choreography simple. With so many women who were multi-generational and enthusiastic non-trained dancers creating together in the waning daylight, this was necessary! I was inspired by their list of attributes.  I organized those qualities in a sequence  and we created a movement for each one, repeating each movement four times.  The last movement ended in a namashkarum (palms together in anjali mudra). I was so taken with their beauty and the true power of their energy moving together, the young mothers and elders dancing together.   

Evidently there are many women's groups in Kuyliapalium.  Nava and Mala who teach the second grade at Aikiyam School where we have been working, helped to organize the group women with whom we met. They will present these dances tomorrow on the Savitri sports field in Auroville.  So happy to help be a connector between  Auroville and this beautiful bordering village community of Kuyliapaliam."

Soon after this, Livia & Bill parted ways with Gabe (who flew back to Colorado). They are now spending time in Shakti Caravan's home city, Udaipur.   

Two nights ago, they performed with Sayari Roots of Gypsy at the Leela Palace in Udaipur city. Of the experience, Livia says:

"This was probably one of the highlights of my performing life.....playing percussion with Sayari and Sheru and these as making Rajasthani musicians.  We had just called Sayari to get together and she invited us to the Leela Palace Hotel where they perform every night.  When we arrive she said, "where are your instruments?"  Luckily the Millets of Mewar Guest house was a three minute walk away so we quickly grabbed the banjo and dumbek.  I sat between the two singers and Sayari danced.  Bill played great too.  Then she asked us to play something on our own so w did the Cuckoo and I clogged barefoot on the marble stage with a touch of Rajasthani turning and using my scarf.  Pretty awesome experience.  They invited us for her sisters wedding in the desert outside of Jodhpur, where they have over 300 relatives...dancers and musicians.  That's next week!" 

Sayari, Sheru, and the band with Livia & Bill at the Leela Palace in Udaipur City.

Sayari, Sheru, and the band with Livia & Bill at the Leela Palace in Udaipur City.

Tales from Auroville!

Water Ceremony in Auroville, India. Part of the 50th year anniversary. 

Water Ceremony in Auroville, India. Part of the 50th year anniversary. 

Probably the most exquisite ceremony I’ve ever attended. As the 300 children descended the spiral walkway in pairs, one with a container of water from origins as disparate as they Nile, the Mediterranean, or the Hudson river, and the child following with a droplet shaped sign naming the source. The children- multinational themselves, then after having poured the multisourced water into a single unifying pool, placed their signs around the edge of the Amphitheater. All to deeply inspiring music and poetry.
— Words from Bill Vanaver, 3/3/18
Eleven days into our India visit this year and so much has transpired. We feel blessed to have been I invited here for Auroville’s 50th birthday and the celebrations have been so moving. Connecting with the wonderful people with whom we have launched ongoing projects in a continuous building of community here in Auroville. Yesterday morning we sang This Little Light of Mine and introduced Tom Chapin’s song, “Walk the World” with all of the Aikiyam School children and Shankar, their wonderful principal. To help celebrate bringing together the many communities here in Auroville, Bill, Gabe and I were scheduled to do a concert at the Unity Pavillion. It was very relaxed and so much fun to perform as the Vanaver Family. Having Gabriel here (aka Gah-be) added a whole new dimension to our traditional folk presentation. Gabe offered two of his poignant, original songs and then got everyone up “urban folk dancing” in a cypher .....the house dancing style! Aurovillians, young and old, danced in a circle with tremendous energy. We also included Gladys Bailin’s brilliant Newspaper Dance on the program. There had been “Trashion Show” here last week with designer recycled items. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do the Newspaper Dance here?” When I realized that we knew Jill Navarre, a wonderful theatre director here in Auroville and had already worked with her actors in years past, she quickly assembled several enthusiastic people to join Gabe and myself and the three Khoji’s who came down from Udaipur to intern with us from Swaraj University. We had several rehearsals and then true to form this structured improv held the 9 of us in a fun rendition of Gladys’ timeless piece. So grateful to Devasmita for organizing this opportunity and to Julian Lines and Matagiri for helping to bring us here to Auroville.
— Words from Livia Vanaver, 3/3/18.
Teacher, Usha, working with the students at Akiyam School. 

Teacher, Usha, working with the students at Akiyam School. 

Gabe, Livia, and Auroville friends, performing "The Newspaper Dance" at the Unity Pavillion. 

Gabe, Livia, and Auroville friends, performing "The Newspaper Dance" at the Unity Pavillion. 

Shatki Caravan 2018 Tour begins!

It's a family reunion! Livia Vanaver, Bill Vanaver, and their youngest son, Gabriel Vanaver, fly out to Pondicherry in southern India today to teach a three week dance and music program at the Akiyam school in Auroville. The focus will be on stories and folktales from around the world, which incorporate themes of non-bias, kindness, and respect for other cultures.

Auroville itself will celebrate its 50th year anniversary this month and the Vanavers will be there to bring together the many diverse communities who make the utopia what it is. Song, dance, and celebration is sure to follow. 

After Auroville, Livia and Bill head to Udaipur, Rajasthan, to visit our Shakti Caravan founding partners at the Shakti Academy of Performing Arts and Healing. 

But that's not all! This April, Samantha, Brian, and Joel (three Vanaver Caravan Compan members and Shakti Caravan teaching artists), will be heading back to the Happy Hours School in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, to put together a large-scale world dance performance with the students there. 

Stay up to date with all things Shakti Caravan! Follow us on social media: @shakticaravan@vanaver_caravan  @sam_and_brian @_joelhanna @happy_hours_school

Shakti Caravan 2012 Pilot Project

Udaipur Shakti Rising

Big Medicine Charitable Trust, Udaipur (BMCT) & the renowned world dance ensemble The Vanaver Caravan (TVC) from Ulster County, New York are happy to announce the launch of a pilot project in January 2012 of BMCT's  Shakti  Academy of Dance,  working with schools and dance studios in Udaipur city.

Marina, Ramona, Miranda, Gustavo 

Marina, Ramona, Miranda, Gustavo 

Dance instructors, Marina Lopez, Miranda ten Broke & Ramona Staffeld trained under VC artistic director, Livia Vanaver and  Gustavo Caldas, African Brazilian dancer and Capoeira master will teach dance and movement classes at Mahila Mandal Girl's School, St Marys Girls School & St Paul's School for students aged 7-8 & 14-16. The instructors will also work closely with Udaipur based, dancer choreographer Bharat Verma and his students.

To learn more about the Vanaver Caravan Ensemble and their amazing achievement as performers and instructors please go to the following website: http://www.vanavercaravan.org

The VC team will additionally help BMCT develop Shakti Academy's interdisciplinary dance and movement education program.